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Education United States Politics Science

Classroom Clashes Over Science Education 493

cheezitmike writes "In a two-part series, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science examines two hot-button topics that create clashes in the classroom between science teachers and conservative-leaning students, parents, school boards, and state legislatures. Part 1 looks at the struggle of teachers to cover evolution in the face of religious push-back from students and legislatures. Part 2 deals with teaching climate change, and how teachers increasingly have to deal with political pressure from those who insist that there must be two sides to the discussion."
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Classroom Clashes Over Science Education

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  • Re:Bigger Problem (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @07:56PM (#40227155)

    The phrase "just a theory" means that you do not know what you are talking about. Educate yourself.

  • A mathematician can't pinpoint errors in reasoning about climate change because he/she is not a specialist in the field. You need the knowledge to properly analyze the evidence. Serge Lang was a great algebraist/number theorist, and yet he was an AIDS/HIV denialist. Clearly his superior intelligence and logical powers were able to deduce that the AIDS researchers were wrong all along about HIV.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:27PM (#40227861)

    But a substantial number of actual scientists (read: not a liberal arts major turned AGW advocate) question the anthropomorphic aspect of climate change. Including a number of Nobel prizes.

    You just pulled that out of your ass.
    Green house gas science predicted that the upper atmosphere would cool whilst the lower atmosphere warms, because green house gasses slow the rate of heat loss from the lower to the up[per atmosphere, this has come true.
    Green house gas science predicted the pole would be affected more by warming than the equator, this is because heat is held onto longer and so has more time to distribute more evenly, this prediction has come true.
    Global warming science predicts that the extent of ice cover of the poles would vary more greatly from summer to winter, thus is because even thought the poles recede further in the summer, in the winter with warmer temp, especially with warmer oceans which retain heat much better than the air, their is more date vapour in the air and so you get more snow. This prediction has come true. For similar reason global warming science predicts places below zero degree would experience more snow, this prediction has come true.
    There as some radical global warming scientist who say crap like we are kill the planet, but there are much more restrained global warming scientist who are very careful about the language they use. All the scientist who thinks global warming caused by man is not real I have heard are not restrained, in the language they use. The science papers that claim to show man made global warming is false are so bad that someone like me who is science literate but not a scientist can see they are crap, for example a paper that show global warming is false because heat can not move from the upper atmosphere to the lower, or paper that treat the atmosphere as a simple column of air and the calculate that the amount of heat increase is nowhere new what is predicted, completely ignoring all of the silence that has predicted that the loss of heat from the lower atmosphere to the upper is slowed.
    When even some scientist start using words like alarmist, radical, extremist, any language thats does not say anything about the fact of global warming but is simple designed it insult and tarnish scientist who have a different opinion to them I straight away am very cynical about them, scientist should stick to the facts not name calling, if they can't do that they are telling me that there position is weak can not stand up by itself and that they are ideologically motivated.

  • that isn't science (Score:4, Informative)

    by khipu ( 2511498 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @10:43PM (#40228373)

    It should just be a hiring requirement for science teaches that they accept evolution as fact.

    No, it should be a requirement that people who teach a scientific subject can explain the evidence for the prevailing theory, carry out experiments to test it, and use this to teach what science is all about. They should teach the scientific method and critical thinking. That is what science is about.

    People who merely believe something without understanding the evidence for it have no business teaching science at all.

  • by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @10:52PM (#40228429)

    Try this experiment once: Try to convince someone that the sun goes around the earth that the earth actually goes around the sun. The chain of inference we had to use to deduce that is complex. That's why we didn't know until just hundreds of years ago. You can teach these things as science, even though you can't provide all the evidence from scratch.

    Teaching climate change is easy. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. When fossil fuels are burnt, they produce carbon dioxide. This will warm the planet. You can then show charts of the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and the global mean temperature. It's actually pretty easy to understand the chain of evidence.

  • by able1234au ( 995975 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @11:42PM (#40228725)
    aha. "Ivar Giaever, an 82-year-old Norwegian who shared the 1973 Nobel Award for work related to quantum tunneling, left the 48,000 member organization earlier this month because of the APA’s position arguing that there is a scientific consensus on the global warming issue."

    An expert on quantum tunnelling! Can i get his opinion on car maintenance, Dress making and 1980 pop music? I am sure he is just as qualified.

    Doesn't it remind you of the "this doctor does not believe that smoking causes cancer"? Except that in this case he is not even in the field.
  • Re:another danger (Score:5, Informative)

    by plover ( 150551 ) * on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @12:43AM (#40229073) Homepage Journal

    The "other" interpretation. You make it sound as if there are two and exactly two "sides". The problem is that when you open the discussions up to include the Judeo-Christian creation mythos, you have to welcome every other equally untestable explanation out there: Eurynome, the AEsir, the raven, Pangu, Enki, the Ogdoad, flying spaghetti monsters, pyramid building aliens, the machines from The Matrix, or any of a thousand other explanations that have arisen throughout the centuries. Since none can be proven or disproven, what is there to teach from a scientific perspective?

    Religious ideas regarding creation could certainly be discussed in the schools - but in history, literature, or philosophy classes, not science.

  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @12:47AM (#40229099)

    My post was merely demonstrating that people must accept the word of experts because they can't know everything. I chose the example I did because it's kindergarten level stuff. If we all rely on the word of experts for even the most fundamental on concepts, how can anyone claim that trusting experts is a logical fallacy?

    "Appeal to authority" is one of, if not the, most misapplied fallacy there is. Kids learn about it in Logic 101 in their freshman year, and then start throwing around the term all over the place, but they have no clue what it means. In actuality, appeals to authority can be entirely justified. Such appeals are only fallacious if the authority cited isn't an actual expert, or disagrees with the consensus, or has a motivation to lie. No one on this planet can live even a single day without trusting in authorities. From the commutative property, to the health effects of drinking bleach, to the stability of the bridge you drive over. Inductive, deductive, doesn't matter. Unless you've done all the work yourself, you're trusting in others.

  • by Ginger Unicorn ( 952287 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @07:34AM (#40230639)

    Recall any great economists? [frbsf.org] Psychologists? [k12.az.us] Biologists? [macroevolution.net] Philosophers? [thegreatphilosophers.com]

    Because those fields are run by incompetent hacks.


    You're a lunatic.

    Lang didn't deny AIDS...or so according to Wikipedia anyway...

    ...Lang's most controversial political stance was as an AIDS denialist...

    Way to go!

  • Re:Why 2 sides (Score:5, Informative)

    by hackula ( 2596247 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @09:36AM (#40231493)

    The 77 cents on the dollar argument is based on adding up the incomes of all the working women in the country, dividing it by the number of women in the country, and doing the same for the men. The actual calculation ignores experience, ability, time on the job, nature of the work, etc.

    True, however, there is still around a 5-7% gap that is unexplained, and is probably due to gender discrimination. Also, there is hard evidence of this discrimination taking place. from Wikipedia:

    Other studies have found direct evidence of discrimination. For example, fewer replies to identical resumes with female names and more jobs for women when orchestras moved to blind auditions.

  • Re:Why 2 sides (Score:4, Informative)

    by CosaNostra Pizza Inc ( 1299163 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @02:49PM (#40235795)

    We are talking specifically about Christianity and it's zealotry.

    No, we're talking about a tiny subset of Christianity. Most Christians accept evolution.

    I could swear the most recent Gallop Poles on the matter said different.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982